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Program teaches life skills to foster youth

Statistics are stacked against America’s foster youth.Less than 70 percent of teenagers graduate high school before leaving their foster care program at age 18, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Of those who “age out” of foster care, the US Government Accountability Office said 40 percent end up homeless before their 20th birthday.But with $168,239 from the California Department of Education’s Foster Youth Services countywide grant program, the Merced County Office of Education is helping foster youth meet their career goals and stay off the streets once they become legal adults.Eight Valley Community School Merced students are participating in the TEAL Program this school year. TEAL stands for transition employment and life skills, which is exactly what the students have learned during two after school sessions each week this month.